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WISCONSIN OUTDOORS
Wisconsin

CURRENT NEWS from the Wisconsin DNR

Spring waterfowl survey results show good production despite challenging conditions
MADISON -- Wisconsin spring waterfowl breeding population surveys in 2016 indicate quality waterfowl production, despite relatively dry conditions experienced during the survey. For all species, population counts showed no significant change from 2015 estimates.

Partner groups team up with DNR to adopt two wildlife areas in southern Wisconsin
MADISON - The Adopt a Wildlife Area program uses strong partnerships to improve Wisconsin's outdoors, and the Wisconsin Waterfowl Association, Natural Heritage Land Trust, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources have joined forces to manage two wildlife areas in Jefferson and Dane counties.



Outdoor Report - June 16, 2016

WI DNR

Find Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism

General | Northern Region | Northeast Region | Southeast Region | South Central Region | West Central Region

Wisconsin has received rain six of the last seven days, some heavy, which has kept water levels on lakes and flowages at a high level and rivers and streams at above average flows. The North and South forks of the Flambeau River and the Chippewa River remain higher than normal. Water levels are also high on the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway with fewer than normal sand bars for this time of year.

The variable conditions and windy weather across the Northwoods made for some tough fishing conditions--though success has been pretty good when anglers were able to get out. The mayfly hatches have subsided quite a bit, allowing for a more consistent walleye bite. Musky success has improved, with anglers reporting quite a few catches and some multiple fish days. Panfish have once again been the highlight of the week--with some good catches of bluegill, pumpkinseed and crappie being reported. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass action has been pretty good when anglers have been able to get out in between the rain and thunderstorms.

Although fishing was good in the beginning of the week for walleye anglers on Green Bay, it slowed down significantly on the weekend due to a storm that brought high winds and cold rain, lowering water temperatures. One species that was biting heavily was freshwater drum with boats reporting 10 to 12 fish and some boats catching upward of 40.

Along Door County, trout and salmon fishing continued to be good out of both Sturgeon Bay and Baileys Harbor. The catch earlier in the week was mostly dominated by rainbow trout but more chinook salmon were reported as the week progressed. This week was hit or miss for smallmouth bass anglers throughout Door County with bass everywhere one day, and nowhere to be found the next.

On Lake Michigan, fishing pressure in Kewaunee and Algoma was high later in the week. Anglers were primarily catching chinook salmon and rainbow trout. This past weekend hosted the Sheboygan Salmon Cup tournament, with several anglers landing kings around 20 pounds. Near Milwaukee, success for browns increased but the coho catch rate tapered off. In Kenosha and Racine, anglers were landing coho, kings and lake trout. Many alewives, both dead and alive, are being seen around piers and along the shoreline in many locations.

Bucks are rapidly putting growth on their new velvet antlers. Elk calves are being seen in the Flambeau River State Forest. Some fawns are becoming more mobile and starting to move around with does. Turtles are still actively nesting and being seen along roadways.

Many upland game bird species are starting to hatch if they haven't already, so keep your eyes open for young ruffed grouse and turkey. The woodland bird chorus continues with American robin, rose-breasted grosbeak, scarlet tanager, eastern wood pewee, yellow-throated and red-eyed vireos and indigo buntings, among others calling.

Rain and sun have brought on a wave of growth, cementing the lush green of the forests and the various hues of the prairie. Lupine, Canada anemone, buttercups, wild strawberries and lady slippers are all blooming. Spiderwort plants are also in bloom. These beautiful violet-blue flowers have a very short life--only a single morning with the petals quickly wilting as the day progresses, turning into a jelly-like fluid.

And, as expected, the wet conditions have set the stage for a good hatch of biting insects, so be prepared for an onslaught of mosquitos and deer flies as the weather warms in the next week.

Upcoming State Natural Area Workday

The prairie is blooming. On June 18, come care for Chiwaukee Prairie SNA from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Help Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund volunteers during our monthly workdays on the third Saturday and enjoy the beauty of this rich prairie in the process. Remove the invasive weeds threatening the prairie. See the State Natural Areas Volunteer Program more information. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane

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Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area

Brule River State Forest - Back to cool and rainy weather in the Brule River area. Last weekend was warm and sunny and it showed with the way people swarmed to the river to enjoy a much needed weekend on the water. Our campgrounds were full and the river seemed very busy with canoe traffic. As of June 15, the river was running at 237 cubic feet per second, which is well above average for this time of year according to the USGS flow rate data. There have still been positive reports from fly fishers who are hooking native fish in the late afternoon and evenings. Most upland game birds will start to hatch if they haven't already. This includes ruffed grouse and turkeys. Morning doves and robins should be starting to hatch as well. You may see an increase in turtles trying to cross the road or even on sandy road sides. June is their peak nesting time. If you can do so safely, feel free to assist these guys on their journey. Bucks are rapidly putting growth on their new antlers. Does are dropping their fawns. If you encounter a lone fawn in the woods please leave it be. They may appear orphaned but they are usually left alone for long periods of time to hide from predators more easily. Nuisance bear reports in the area remind us of the importance of being careful when we have wildlife interactions. Please make sure that you remove bird feeders and put your garbage in a place where it is not easily accessed by bears. "Wildlife reminders" can be found on the DNR website to help you stay safe and keep wildlife wild! - Edwin Koepp, visitor services associate

Hayward DNR Service Center area

Sawyer County - Unstable weather patterns have the fish biting one day and not the next. Water temperatures have been fluctuating with the unstable patterns causing the erratic fish bites. There has been a large mayfly hatch in the recent week as well. Live bait seems to be out producing artificial at this time. The bite has been inconsistent as well between minnows, night crawler and leeches. The tip of the hat appears to be best with crawlers right now. The fish are scattered yet between shallows and mid-depth ranges, depending on the weather. If fish are not located shallow, the best method has been to progressively work deeper around areas of wood, rock and weed. The North Fork, South Fork and Chippewa Rivers remain higher than normal with the rainfalls. Fish are scattered and not just concentrated in the holes like they are during low water. It is tough trying to anchor is the fast current and deeper holes at this time. Musky seem to have been consistently active on most of the river systems this past week. - Thomas Heisler Jr., conservation warden, Winter

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - Variable and general windy weather have been the theme for the past several weeks and this has made for some tough fishing conditions - though success has been pretty good when anglers have been able to get out. The periodic heavy rain has kept water levels on most lakes and flowages at a high level, with the rivers and streams also experiencing above average flows. The wet conditions have set the stage for a good hatch of biting insects, so outdoor enthusiasts should be prepared for an onslaught of mosquitos and deer flies as the weather warms in the next week. The mayfly hatches seem to have subsided quite a bit and this has allowed the walleye bite to become a little more consistent. The best tactic has been a small jig tipped with a leech or night crawler piece, and fished along the weed edges and mid-depth break lines. Musky success has improved, with anglers reporting quite a few catches and some multiple fish days. Smaller bucktails and glide baits have been the most productive, and some decent catches have been also been made with small to medium live suckers. Panfish have once again been the highlight of the week--with some good catches of bluegill, pumpkinseed and crappie being reported. Water temperatures have been hovering in the mid to upper 60s and this has kept the bluegill and pumpkinseeds on their spawning beds. A bobber and a worm, or a small twister tail have produced some nice catches. Quite a few crappie have still been found along the shallow weed edges, with a small minnow fished just below a bobber showing some good success right before dark. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass action has been pretty good-when anglers have been able to get out in between the rain and thunderstorms. Most largemouth are still in their spring pattern of cruising weed and lily pad beds, with top-water lures and soft plastics producing some good action. Smallmouth bass action has been a bit more erratic, and a few fish have still been seen on nests. With the harvest season for smallmouth opening on Saturday June 18, immediate catch and release of smallies should still be a high priority for anglers. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls

Flambeau River State Forest - The Flambeau trail is in good shape. We had a couple storms the past two weeks so crews have been very busy doing chainsaw work and debris clean up. Hiking trails are open throughout the forest. The forest is full of new life. Little critters of all types are scurrying about. Fledglings, fawns, elk calves and tadpoles. Bears have been observed by many of the forest staff and visitors. Turtles of lots of different species have been seen along the side of the road. Turkey poults, grouse and woodcock chicks have started to become visible. Buttercups, wild strawberries, and lady slippers are all blooming. By the way, remember to be prepared for the mosquitoes, ticks and flies when you head out to enjoy nature. - Diane Stowell, visitor services associate

Woodruff DNR Service Center area

Vilas County - Consistent rains in Vilas and Oneida counties have improved water levels on many area seepage lakes. Local flowages are also at capacity. Unfortunately along with significant rainfall comes a bumper crop of seemingly starving mosquitos. Fishing reports have been mixed with some consistent success catching panfish on area waters as well as sporadic catches of walleye. - Michael Sealander, conservation warden, St. Germain

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Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

This report is for the week of June 5 through 11. Rain and wind again last week kept fishing pressure low to moderate in most areas especially on the Bay of Green Bay.

Marinette County - Anglers below the dam on the Peshtigo River are catching some smallmouth using a variety of baits from fly fishermen using wooly buggers or streamers to casting small spoons and stick baits in the current breaks. The lower Peshtigo has been producing some walleye, sheepshead and smallmouth bass on live bait and hardware. Fish are being caught trolling with crawler/harness, and stick baits, and jigging with jig heads and crawlers in the deep holes in the lower portion of the river. Anglers on the Menominee River have had some success trolling for walleye using stick baits and crawler/harness from Stephenson Island to the mouth of the River. The smallmouth bite has been slow. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Oconto County - Anglers heading out from Geano Beach found moderate success targeting walleyes. The presentation of choice is still trolling flicker shads, which were producing 1-2 fish per angler. Water temperatures were in the high 60s to low 70s still and water clarity was moderate until the storm that rolled through on Friday June 10, which forced muddy water into the bay. This storm also caused the water temperatures to drop slightly and along with that slowed the fishing, anglers reported Saturday June 11 to have a really tough time locating and catching any numbers of walleyes. A couple of boats tried their luck with musky fishing and found no success. They reported not even seeing a single musky. Most likely this was also due to the storm which brought colder temperatures, in turn switching the fishes mood to feed down. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Brown County - Walleye anglers found good success from the Suamico River boat launch. Anglers were reporting a few limits being caught and this talk spread resulting in a full parking lot on Saturday, June 11. Unfortunately for the anglers that launched on Saturday the fishing had turned almost completely off from the storm that past just the night before. Once again anglers who were finding success earlier in the week were trolling a combination of flicker shads and crawler harnesses. With the nice weather Saturday, people around Duck Creek were seen enjoying the water with their kayaks and a few had some fishing gear. Anglers heading out from the Metro launch were doing very well this week, with many boats getting their limits. Most people were also reporting catching a large number of short fish (below the size limit). Water temperatures were in the low 70s and water clarity was moderate to low towards the end of the week due to large amounts of rain. The best presentation has been trolling crank baits and crawler harnesses in shallow water, 6-11 feet. Although fishing was good in the beginning of the week it slowed down significantly on the weekend due to the storm that brought high winds and cold rain, which lowered the water temperatures. Saturday, June 11 was still very busy (101 trailers counted), with most of trailers being from pleasure boaters. Anglers reported fishing to be slow compared to early in the week. The one species that was biting heavily was the freshwater drum in which many boats reported boating 10-12 and some boats catching upwards of 40. Fishing pressure on the Fox River was pretty consistent the whole week, except for Saturday June 11, when many people were on the river with air temperatures hitting the low 90s. Fishing in the Fox River was moderate this week with many anglers out trying to catch "anything that would bite." Anglers were reporting catching some freshwater drum, smallmouth bass, white bass and channel catfish. A few boats tried their luck with muskellunge, but found no success finding it hard to even get follows or any sightings at all. Water temperatures in the Fox River were in the mid 70s earlier in the week, but might of cooled off a bit with the rain we got in the past few days. Water clarity in the river is poor with only about a foot of visibility. - Adrian Meseberg, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Door County - Trout and Salmon fishing continues to be good out of both Sturgeon Bay and Baileys Harbor. Anglers at Baileys Harbor reported getting fish around 100-300 feet of water and 400 feet was reported by anglers in Sturgeon Bay. The catch earlier in the week was mostly dominated by rainbow trout, but more chinook salmon were being reported as the week progressed. This week was the definition of "hit or miss" for smallmouth bass anglers throughout Door County with bass everywhere one day, and nowhere to be found the next. A lot of smallmouth bass were caught and decent number of 4-5 pound bass were reported. The walleye fishing this week was above average with walleye being reported from Sturgeon Bay up to Gills Rock. Most anglers have been trolling crank baits in about 20-25 feet of water, but some smallmouth bass anglers have been catching walleyes while jigging plastics. There was a surprisingly good daytime walleye bite this week, even anglers fishing from shore or piers picked up an occasional walleye. - Lucas Koenig, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Kewaunee County - This week got off to a slow start in Kewaunee County, but the fish became very active this weekend with anglers reporting a lot of success. Fishing pressure in Kewaunee and Algoma was high later in the week with very high numbers of fish returning to the Algoma ramp on Sunday. The anglers fishing early in the morning are finding a lot more fish than others, and one boat brought back 22 fish on Sunday. Anglers are primarily catching chinook salmon and rainbow trout on bright shiny lures of almost any color. Most of the successful anglers are starting in 120 feet and fishing out to 300 feet with the best luck being reported 60-85 feet down.- Lucas Koenig, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Governor Thompson State Park - The park's 16 miles of hiking trails await your next journey. Hikers are seeing new born fawns and turtles nesting on the trails. The ticks are out and about too, so be sure to check yourself, kids and pets after hiking. The native lupine are blooming in our prairies. - Maggie Kailhofer, park manager

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Potawatomi State Park - Canada anemone is in bloom. Robins are nesting with the fledglings about ready to leave the nest. Fox snakes have been sighted. - Lois M. Hanson, visitor services associate

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waupaca County - It has been very wet in central Wisconsin. Trout streams very turbid with very tough fishing. Fawns now often traveling with mama, seems to be a good crop. Ticks still active, mosquitos have really responded to the wet conditions. Supposed to be a very nice weekend. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma

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Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Kettle Moraine State Forest, Southern Unit - The wetter prairies are dotted with spiderwort, prairie phlox and hoary puccoon. In addition, a few less prominent species have begun blooming, including pale spiked lobelia and marsh bedstraw. The most startling wildflower award this week goes to great Angelica, a purple-stemmed plant in the parsley family that reaches up to 8 feet tall. A related plant that everyone going outdoors in Wisconsin should know is wild parsnip. If your skin touches this plant while in sunlight (even cloud cover), it can cause a severe burn which can leave a blister that lasts for years. While only perhaps 2 feet tall now, it can grow up to 5 feet tall. It can be recognized by its grooved, yellow-green stem and its umbrella-shaped constellation of small, yellow flowers. The woodland bird chorus continues with American robin, rose-breasted grosbeak, scarlet tanager, eastern wood pewee, yellow-throated and red-eyed vireos, and indigo buntings, among others. Rare birds observed this past week include: Acadian flycatcher, hooded warbler, and cerulean warbler. Cope's gray treefrogs can still be heard in and around kettle ponds. Blanding's turtles, painted turtles, and eastern newts can also be encountered in our wetlands. Join one of our naturalists in June on Saturdays at 10 a.m. for wildflower walks, and on Sundays in June at 8 a.m. for bird walks. (Meet at Forest Headquarters, off Rt. 59 between Eagle and Palmyra.)

sea - Todd Miller, assistant naturalist guide

Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee

Sheboygan County - Many alewives, both dead and alive, are around the piers. Many carp can also be seen from the piers. Both piers had low fishing pressure all weekend, and no fish were reported caught. The Sheboygan Salmon Cup fishing tournament was this weekend. Dozens of boats launched from the Sheboygan marina ramp and went out at 5 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. Four 20-plus pound kings were caught on Saturday and more in the 17-19 lb. range. The rest of the tournament results will be posted online later this week.

Ozaukee County - There are still baitfish all around the lakeshore this week, but not as many as there have been. Shore fishing has been picking up a little this week with some browns and coho being caught around Rotary Park and Coal Dock Park. Many carp can also be seen from shore. Early morning hours seem to be the most successful, and both spoons and alewives are being used. The boat angler's success has been slowing down, but is still good. Mostly coho and a few rainbows were caught this week on spoons, flies, and alewives. The Army Corps of Engineers is repairing the north pier/breakwall in Port Washington, and access to the pier is prohibited. Construction is projected to last until July 3.

Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee the catch rate for coho on Mckinley Pier tapered off during the week. The large numbers of bait fish that were seen on the lake side of the pier over the past three to four weeks has decreased. A 15-pound chinook was caught with a green/white spoon on June 7 and a couple of 15-pound brown trout were caught with alewives during the week. The surface water temperature on the lake side of the pier increased from 47 degrees last week to 54 degrees on Sunday, June 12. Nice catches of brown trout (up to 16 pounds) were landed under the Hoan Bridge south of Jones Island by anglers casting spoons. A 10- to 12-pound brown trout and a few smallmouth bass were caught and released on the Coast Guard pier by a couple of anglers fishing with alewives. The weed beds are starting to fill in around the Cupertino Park fishing pier. Anglers on the pier catch bluegills, rock bass, smallmouth bass, and perch once the weed beds get established. Fishing pressure on the Oak Creek Power Plant pier continues to be low with only two or three anglers on average fishing on the pier during the early morning and late evening bite. Brown trout continue to be caught on the lake side of the pier by anglers drifting crank baits in the current from the discharge chute. A 15-pound brown trout was landed on the pier the morning of Saturday, June 11. Flicker shad crank baits were the most productive lures. The perch season opens Thursday, June 16. Approximately 8-10 boat trailers on average were in the McKinley parking lot for the morning bite during the work week and 35-40 trailers on Saturday morning. Boats out of McKinley continue to land nice catches of coho, along with a few rainbows, kings, and lake trout. Most of the boats were targeting coho in 120-150 feet of water with medium size spoons and with orange flashers and blue/green flies in the top 40 feet of the water column from the Capitol Drive TV towers to the water filtration plant. Some of the boats came in with limits of 10, 15 or 20 fish. The coho have been averaging 3-4 pounds along with an occasional 6-7 pounder. One boat at the Riverfront ramp landed 6 coho and 4 rainbows Saturday morning while trolling in 180 feet of water straight out from the main gap with frog flies, medium size homemade flies, and evil eye spoons (20, 40, and 60 feet down). Activity at the Bender Park ramp remains low. Boats out of Bender landed a few coho off Wind Point (with nickel back and copper back moonshine walleye spoons) and in 50-70 feet of water by the Cudahy Tower off College Avenue.

Racine County - Boats out of Racine are catching an average of six fish per boat. Most boaters reported that red dodger/fly is catching the most fish with some being caught on spoons. The majority of fish being caught are coho; however, a few kings, lake trout, and rainbows are still being caught. Boaters are having the best luck fishing between 65 and 110 feet of water. They are running their lures from 25 feet down to the surface. The surface temperature was 57 degrees, 20 feet down was 53 degrees, and the bottom temperature was 40. Early in the week anglers caught a few coho at the ends of Racine's north and south piers. These coho were caught on either alewives or crank baits. A couple of browns were also reported caught on alewives. A few anglers fishing in the Racine harbor caught some rock bass, crappie, and bluegill.

Kenosha County - Boats out of Kenosha have catch rates similar to that of Racine. Boaters are catching mostly coho on red dodger/fly rigs, but some fish are being caught on spoons. A few browns, kings, lake trout, and rainbows are being caught as well. Boaters are having the most success trolling in 60 to 100 feet, and running their lures from the surface to 30 feet down. The surface temperature was 56 degrees. One coho was reported caught off of the Kenosha piers early in the week, and it was caught on an alewife. One brown trout was also caught in the harbor this week off of a live alewife.

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South Central Region

Dodgeville DNR Service Center area

Green County - Fishing is off to a good start in Green County with anglers catching some nice fish. The Cheese Country Trail is OPEN and has seen a high volume of traffic. A number of people were consuming alcohol and then operating ATV/UTVs. Riders should refrain from consuming intoxicants and then operating any motor vehicle as it creates a dangerous situation for everyone. Remember if you abuse it you lose it, so make sure you are only operating on trails and properties open to public use. As always, please report any violations you observe and stay safe. - Ryan Caputo, conservation warden, New Glarus

La Crosse DNR Service Center area

Vernon County - The public is reporting many deer fawn observations throughout the area. Fawns do not typically travel with does for the first several weeks of their lives. Does are very protective of their fawns and tend to be intolerant of other adult does during the majority of the summer. By autumn, does become less protective of their fawns and will associate with offspring of the previous year and other family groups. The public is also reporting an abundance of cotton-tailed rabbits and their associated nuisance problems. Keep your eyes open for wild turkey and pheasant broods, which will be showing up soon if they have not already. Cut hayfields are especially good areas to spot these animals. Spiderwort plants are in full bloom. These beautiful violet-blue flowers are so named because their angular leaf arrangement suggests a squatting spider. Spiderwort flowers have a very short life - only a single morning - but each plant will produce 20 or more flowers per stem. The petals quickly decompose after blooming. The petals wilt as the day progresses, turning into a jelly-like fluid. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua

Eau Claire DNR Service Center area

Lake Wissota State Park - Species of birds seen or heard include rose-breasted grosbeaks, loons, robins, red polls, a variety of wrens, phoebes, Canada geese, northern juncos, pileated woodpeckers and belted kingfishers. The great blue herons, green herons, barred owls, ravens, osprey and bald eagles are on their nests. Area open water game fish and panfish action has been moderate with warm temperatures or very quiet during cooler days in the sheltered bays and lagoons. The smallmouth bass have been hitting below the dams, and there is a lot of musky action in the area as well. The fireflies and a variety of dragonflies have shown up in great abundance. The cherry species are in bloom. The ferns are in the process of unfurling. Miterwort, spring beauty, common and wood strawberry, dog violet, marsh marigolds, trillium, wild columbine, bellworts and the false rue anemones are in bloom.- Dave Hladilek, park manager

Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area

Buckhorn State Park - Mosquitoes have hatched. Remember to bring bug spray, screen tents or thermocells. There are still many sites left in the new campground, which was less buggy than other areas of the park. The beach is a great place to cool off and escape the bugs. Canoes and kayaks are available to rent during open office hours. - Heather Wolf, park manager

Roche-A-Cri State Park - Very few bugs out right now so the park is great for camping and hiking. - Heather Wolf, park manager


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